Greening Jigawa Bakery Business

Jigawa State is losing over 300 trees a day for bakery activities alone: 1 tree is fired per bakery per day to bake the ubiquitous bread, which has become the staple food for many Nigerians on low incomes. With more efficient bakery ovens, this loss could be reduced by 80 percent, and the bakers would save money on their firewood as well. Renewable Energy entrepreneurs Hannah Kabir and Happy Amos have installed 3 such ovens in Jigawa State, as pilot cases.

It’s 7 a.m. on a Monday morning in Dutse and the workers of the Tawatsima Bakery have resumed duty.  Today they will burn over 500kg of firewood – the equivalent of a fully grown tree - in order to power their bakery oven for the day’s production. Tawastima Bakery is not the only bakery open for business today. Across Jigawa State, at least 300 bakeries are in operation and each of them will stuff one tree into their large ovens before the close of business. Within one year, Jigawa State alone loses about 100,000 trees and where there is no firewood left, more trees would be felled further south.


The baker using the old traditional oven experiences a lot of heat during baking.
The new improved bakery oven uses much less firewood than the old traditional oven.

Jigawa State is already one of the states most vulnerable to desertification in Nigeria and at this rate of deforestation, the encroaching desert from the Sahel will eventually overrun the entire region if left unchecked.

Hannah Kabir, a renewable energy entrepreneur, is building large bakery ovens that save up to 80 percent of firewood. “With the new improved ovens one tree can last a baker up to a week,” Hannah says. After an initial study by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, focusing on greener development options for Jigawa State, Hannah installed three so-called Rocket Ovens in Dutse, Gumel and Hadejia, in collaboration with the Bakery Association of Jigawa State and the Chamber of Commerce.

New improved bakery oven

Traditional Bakery Oven

The new ovens are cost-effective and affordable to the bakers, but in order to prove the point of their efficiency and their positive contribution to climate resilience, the first 3 ovens were funded by the Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) with funding from the World Bank. After their installation, Hannah Kabir has visited the bakeries to ascertain the economic viability of the ovens. “A baker can recoup his or her investment within six months,” she says.


The New versus The Old: A comparative analysis. - Heinrich Böll Stiftung Abuja Office

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The workers at the Tawatsima Bakery are ecstatic about the new improved oven. Mukaila, a baker for two years, says he prefers the new oven. “You can’t even compare the two,” he says. “The old one adds a lot of heat to the house and we suffer from it.”


The Bakers of Tawatsima - Heinrich Böll Stiftung Abuja Office

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Adamu Kachiko, the owner of Tawatsima Bakery, after four weeks of using the oven, is already noticing a rapid reduction in wood consumption. “The old oven uses so much wood compared to this one that uses just a little,” says Adamu.  


Figure 1: Old oven on the right versus new oven on the left

Hannah explains that the simple technology is the reason for the high energy efficiency of the improved ovens. The walls of the improved oven are lined with bricks and an insulating material, which keeps the heat from escaping during heating, thereby making the temperature reach up to 150 degrees Celsius within 30 minutes. The traditional ovens would take about 3 hours to attain the same temperature because they leak heat through the walls made of clay.

There are still more improvements in the pipeline, as Hannah and her colleague Happy Amos are looking into ways to further improve the heating process of the ovens. They are looking at using gasifiers which would not necessarily have to use wood to fire the ovens but could be using agricultural waste such as rice chaff or palm kernel shells. Happy says, “The gasifiers are more energy-efficient than the combustion chamber of the rocket ovens.”

Sustainable development interventions such as these ovens may be one way Jigawa State could mitigate the impact of climate change in Nigeria, create more jobs and enhance the economy of the region.